Six tourists, two of them children, have died and more than 100 persons were injured in a heavy storm in the northern area of Greece on Wednesday. As a result of the strong winds and heavy hail in a 20-minute storm, trees were uprooted and severalroofs collapsedd.
The ages of patients admitted to health centres for treatment ranged from just eight months to over 70 years. Several sustained head injuries from falling trees and other objects.
Two elderly tourists from the Czech Republic died when strong winds and waters carried away the cart in which they were travelling. And a Romanian woman and her eight-year-old son died when the roof of a restaurant where they were dining collapsed on them. A Russian man and boy died when a tree fell on them close to their hotel.
Meteorologists described the freak weather at this time as very unusual during a period of hot and dry summers. The Greek authorities declared a state of emergency in Halkidiki, an area popular with tourists, and continuous rescue efforts are under way by at least 140 firemen.
A number of Italian towns and cities have also been hit by a hailstorm. The Italian authorities have issued a rain and strong wind warning, with the storm expected to hit the northern areas of the country. At least 18 persons sustained injuries in the hailstorm in Pescara, with hail as big as oranges.
The storms in the region, with heavy rain, lightning activity, strong winds and hail, even caused waterspouts off the coast of Ravenna, where some 200 pine trees were destroyed, and flooding was reported in the Marche, Romagna and Abruzzo regions.
Meanwhile, in Sicily firemen are still fighting fires in various areas of the island, close to Palermo and Catania. Helicopters are being used to put out fires on grass areas.
The Italian Coastguard said it had evacuated a bay near Catania because of a fire which was raging close by.